By the time Kevin Durant had finished dressing, only a small crowd of reporters remained in search of sound bites from the biggest star of the night.
Moments earlier, it took Thunder coach Scott Brooks more than three minutes to even mention Durant's name during his media session.
“Is he an afterthought?” Brooks asked. “I could mention him every game. But you get bored with that. Every game you could say KD had a great game and he did a lot of great things for us to put us in position.”
This, it seems, is what happens when your extraordinary becomes ordinary.
On a night that the Thunder found itself in a surprising tussle with the Dallas Mavericks, who thoroughly outplayed OKC for much of the night, Durant stood and delivered a dominant performance his team desperately needed to have any shot of securing its 111-105 overtime victory.
But by the final buzzer, all that Durant had done to keep the Thunder within striking distance became lost in yet another action-packed thriller against the Mavs.
His final line, however, said it all: 40 points, 13-for-28 shooting, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and one steal in 48 minutes, 48 seconds.
“Tonight, our energy level was low on both ends of the floor,” Durant said. “We let us missing shots dictate our defense, and we can't do that. We've been having that problem here lately.”
Sensing his team headed for another slow start, this one having the potential to send the Thunder to its third straight loss, Durant was as dialed in as he's been all season. Judging by the hustle plays he turned in throughout the night, his will to win Thursday appeared unmatched by anybody else on the court.
“He was in attack mode, knocking down shots.” said Russell Westbrook, who scored half of his 16 points in overtime and added 10 assists and just two turnovers. “He did a good job of staying aggressive. He did a good job of rebounding, blocking shots and scoring the basketball, of course. It was one of those nights for him.”
As much as he stuffed the stat sheet, Durant's most spectacular play came on the defensive end. It was a sequence that showed his growth as a two-way player and the type he's supplying more and more to strengthen his MVP candidacy.
It started with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Serge Ibaka, who served as Durants' super sidekick with 19 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, turned it over at one end. Dallas got the ball to guard Darren Collison, who jetted the other way for a breakaway layup. Durant, though, came flying in to swat the attempt against the backboard before hauling in the rebound. He then streaked the other way and slammed in a ferocious dunk over Mavs center Chris Kaman.
“That was probably my favorite play,” Durant said of the sequence.
Amazingly, in the overtime period Durant didn't score a single point.
“I guess I ran out of gas,” he said.
Enough had been done to hand the Thunder momentum. Oklahoma City outscored Dallas 13-7 in the extra frame.
Durant scored 13 in the fourth quarter, helping the Thunder come back from an 11-point third-quarter deficit to nearly win in regulation. With 1:57 remaining in the fourth quarter, Durant hit a jump hook over Vince Carter from the right block to give the Thunder a 96-95 lead, its first since 8-7 early in the opening quarter. Durant then hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds to bump the Thunder's lead to three.
Collison responded by hitting an improbable, catch-and-shoot, one-legged 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer to send the game to overtime.
The Thunder trailed by as many as three points inside the final three minutes of overtime. And after Westbrook took over, Durant ducked quietly out of Chesapeake Energy Arena, content with his mission long being completed.
“I always trust my teammates,” Durant said. “And they came up big.”